Friday, February 15, 2013

How To Publish An Ebook

A couple weeks ago a friend of mine at writers' group asked about publishing an ebook. Since I've published The Aristotelian and also Finding Time, I've worked out a workflow for ebook creation. Last summer I gave a presentation at Bar Camp Grand Rapids and that was well received.

I did not use a fancy Power Point or Prezi presentation--just a text file zoomed up and projected on the screen. This is what it said:

1) Write a book. Use Word, or Emacs. If you use vi, you can't. Just quit...
2) Convert DOCX to HTML using Rick Boatright's script
3) Copy HTML into Sigil.
4) Create a snazzy cover with a pretty girl.
5) Open someone else's ebook in Sigil to see how they did it
6) Convert ePub to Mobi using Calibre.
7) Go to the County clerk and register a DBA, e.g. Atlas Integrated Publishing
8) Buy an ISBN or 10 ISBNs
9) Create an account on Kindle Direct Publishing
10) From your Bookshelf add a new title
11) Wait 12 hours for notification from Amazon.
12) After you sell 100 books, look into CreateSpace
13) Build a web page for your book
14) Create a snazzy book trailer
15) Create marketing pieces. Like bookmarks or business cards

About a week later, another friend, Matt Heusser, wrote this summary of my talk. I should apologize for step #4, because a snazzy cover may also have a pretty guy, or a pretty guy and girl. Or a puppy.

Coming back to now, my friend wanted this done for his book. I told him that the first thing he has to do (mindful of the above), is to decide what you want to do and what you want to hire out. I feel pretty handy with the geeky stuff and I feel pretty lame with the artsy stuff. That's why I hired my friend Joanne Renaud to do the artwork. And my friend Kemp Lyons to do the book trailer.

In both cases I was able to take delivery of content online and I was able to pay via PayPal. We're all still talking to one another, and I'll gladly do business with each of them again. I'll call that success. The more you can iron out up front, the less risk of hard feelings later. It's not reasonable to expect the other person to read your mind. Both of you should expect a bit of to-and-fro while you're converging on a solution. I hope to expand on this later.

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